Pacifico and Granite #2-Bike and HikeI had noticed a couple of weeks ago when I drove over Mill Creek Summit that the famous Korean bus was parked at the top, hinting that the trails were open in that area. I took a bit of a gamble and decided to make it a bike and hike day. I parked at the top parking lot and didn't see any sign closures so it was a go. For the first 1/4 mile there are a million signs saying to stay on the fire road. After that 1/4 mile they disappeared so I guess you can do what you want after that section.
I have always approached Pacifico from the east so didn't really know what the road would be like. I hoped it would be a gentle incline perfect for riding but instead I got a 3 mile steady climb ascending 1,500 feet. After about a quarter mile I was walking the bike up, not much fun and no shade. Once I reached the turn off for the fire road to Granite and Round Top the gradient declined significantly so I was able to ride until the turn off to Pacifico. At this point I left the bike at the junction and hiked the fire road until I accessed the SW ridge and climbed an easy use trail to the summit. The summit itself was spared from the fire but areas all around it are burned. Many saplings have been planted in this area which seems odd since it didn't get burned. I met an early PCT hiker on the way up and that was the sole person I saw all day.
From there I hiked and rode back to the junction fireroad that takes you to Granite and Round Top. I decided to hit Granite since it had always been such a beautiful summit in such a dry area. I left my bike at the junction since the road as I remembered it was steep and up and down when I had hiked from Monte Cristo. I hiked up the NE ridge which had some nice grass growing on it. The peak itself was completely torched, nothing left. This would be the place to try and grow saplings go figure. The heat of the fire must have been intense by the coloring on some of the rocks. The summit log had been in a plastic container last time I had been here and I think I found some melted residue on the rock, nice.
From there I hiked back down to the road skipping Round Top which is an ugly peak in my opinion and back to my bike. Finally the reward for all that lugging was on hand. A sweet coast down of the three miles in less then 15 minutes now that is living it. The total numbers were somewhere around 15 miles in less then 4 hours with a little over 3K elevation gain.